Princeton Election Consortium: The disappearing Bradley effect

Princeton Election Consortium (9/26/08)

The disappearing Bradley effect

A hot topic among polling nerds is the “Bradley effect,” which occurs when a non-white (usually black) candidate falls short of opinion polls on Election Day when he/she runs against a white candidate. For this reason it has been suggested that support for Obama might be overstated – a hidden bonus for John McCain. Now comes a large-scale empirical study (in preprint form) by Harvard political scientist Dan Hopkins. He finds that since the mid-1990s, the Bradley effect has disappeared. His paper is a must-read.

Many people believe that opinion polls overstate support for the black candidate, for instance due to latent racial bias that respondents are unaware of or will not report explicitly.

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